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- Posted:Wednesday, October 24, 2012
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We love to make the most out of a new destination regardless of how little time we have to spend there. So that’s why we’ve put together a quick guide to what we would do with just one day in Madrid.
9am - If you are up early in Madrid you will find you are one of few, as many locals don’t get up until late. But this makes for a peaceful time to take in the city centre. After a light breakfast Madrid-style, make your way to Gran Via, Madrid’s main thoroughfare. This street is normally jam-packed with shoppers and sightseers so it’s great to see it when it’s a little quieter. Start on the east side of Gran Via close to Calle de Alcalá and make your way west taking in the intricate designs of the quirky Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings.
10am - Your stroll up Gran Via will bring you to Plaza de España – one of Madrid’s biggest squares. The main feature of the square is a statue of the famous writer Miguel de Cervantes who is also joined by statues of his beloved characters Don Quijote and Sancho Panza. These statues and their surroundings make for some great photographs. From here make your way up to Parque del Oeste...
11am - Parque del Oeste is a popular park that is home to many great Madrid attractions. The most popular of these is the Temple of Debod – an authentic Egyptian Temple that was given to Madrid as a gift from Egypt. Also, from here you can look out onto Casa de Campo along with some breathtaking views. Moncloa Metro station is just by the park so you can get to your next destination that little bit quicker.
Lunchtime - If you get a fine day in Madrid, the best place to spend your lunch is in Buen Retiro Park. Grab a sandwich or pack a picnic and make your way to this beautiful city park. Retiro Park is at the edge of the city centre and is filled with sculptures, monuments, a lake and it also hosts lots of events.
If the weather’s not suited to a park picnic then make your way towards one of the streets surrounding city squares like Plaza Mayor or Puerta del Sol instead, where you will find many cafes and restaurants. Try a popular local spot such as Cervecería 100 Montaditos or Museo del Jamón, which are also very easy on your pocket.
2pm - Whether you’re a football fan or not, you have more than likely heard of Real Madrid Football Club. Their home stadium is the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, or just the Bernabéu for short. This impressive stadium offers tours where you can get a glimpse of the vast trophy collection the club has won, along with a seat in the dugout and a visit to the dressing rooms. Imagine - you could sit where Ronaldo and Kaka have sat after a winning a home game! There’s a metro stop called after the stadium just outside for a quick escape after your tour.
4pm - Hop off the metro at Opera and you’re just steps from the largest royal palace in Western Europe. The Palacio Real, or Royal Palace is Madrid’s largest building and most impressive. It’s one of the city’s most popular attractions as it’s also a museum housing a lot of important art from Tiépolo, Goya and Mengs to name but a few. A lot of the palace is open to public viewing but there is an admission fee from €8-10 depending on whether you want a guided tour or not.
6pm - From Monday to Saturday you can access the permanent collection in one of Madrid’s most popular museums, the Prado Museum for free between 6pm and 8pm. This museum is home to a large number of works by world-famous artists such as Velázquez and Francisco de Goya. You really could spend the day walking around the exhibition halls of the Prado, but even just two hours is well worth spending here.
9pm - Dinner is served late in Madrid. Restaurants are at their busiest from 9pm as both locals and tourists come out in full force to enjoy one of the biggest attractions to the city – its food. No visit to Madrid is complete without sampling some tapas. If you’re after a budget option then look out for some bars that offer a free tapas plate with every beer or ‘cerveza’ that you buy. If you want to splash out a bit then make your way to areas such as Cava Baja, La Latina or the squares around Chueca and Dos de Mayo. Two of our favourites Madrid tapas restaurants are Lateral and Bocaito.
11pm - Madrid is also renowned for its entertainment scene and if you’re prepared to see it at its best, then be prepared for very little sleep! Make your way to Plaza de Santa Ana and sit outside a bar in this lively city square. Not too far from here you will also find Calle de las Huertas which is full of great bars.
2am - Once the bars start to wind down around 2am, check out the city’s club scene. Kapital on Calle de Atocha is the ‘ultimate’ nightclub with 7 floors! However, if this is not your thing there are a lot of smaller venues to suit all kinds of music and budgets around the city.
Late night snack/ early breakfast - Finish off your great night out in Madrid in a very local style with some late night/early morning churros. This sweet snack is a local speciality is made up of fried dough sticks that you dip in warm melted chocolate. One of the most popular spots for churros is Chocolatería San Ginés that lies in a little alleyway just west of Puerta del Sol and is open all night.
Some tips from our facebook fans on what to do with one day in Madrid...
Nicholas Orloff says: EAT!
Josh Foskett says: Wander around.
Sol Manha says: I'd like to go at Santiago Bernabeu, eat pasta with gorgonzola cheese and drink "la clara".
Lore Buchner says: Go to Queen Sofia's museum and spend the day looking at the amazing Picasso's Guernica!
Mindy Bindy says: Shoe shopping and then canas and tapas in the city. Go to Queen Sofia's museum and spend the day looking at the amazing Picasso's Guernica!
Jennifer James says: Eat tapas!
Xinia Maria says: Walking in the day and go to a sparkling wine in the evening, dancing too!
Next stop will most definitely be your bed. Make sure it’s a comfy one for a great value price with one of these great Madrid hostels.